NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 24 – Shafi Bakari followed Rayton Okwiri out of the hunt for a place at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics after being eliminated by Ghanaian Sulemanu Tetteh in the second round of his flyweight division in Dakar on Sunday night.
Bakari, seeded third in the qualifiers lost out on a split decision, suffering the same fate as did Okwiri earlier on in the evening.
The bout started off in furious pace with the Kenyan looking tighter defensively to take command of the first round. The second and third rounds were both close and though Shaffi felt he did well, he was eliminated on split.
“It wasn’t very easy. He’s good. In the first round I saw that we were equal and maybe I could have been losing. So the coaches told me this and I worked on overcoming him in the second round. In two and three I knew I had it, I really thank God for this win,” Tetteh said after the victory.
Meanwhile, Christine Ongare progressed to the quarter finals of the women’s fly after outpunching Burundian Ornella Havyarimana to win on a unanimous decision.
Ongare carried more power in her punches and dominated all rounds, leaving no chance to the Burundian who remained on the receiving end.
“It is a good start for me, as I look to qualify for the Olympics for the second time after making the quarter finals at the last qualifiers in Cameroon. The weather here is too heavy for us, so when you can get a winning start it’s nice,” Ongare stated after the victory.
She added; “The draw always pits me against taller boxers, who seem to bring out the best in me. I always win against taller boxers and not those within my reach. I have been boxing for 10 years after switching from football, where I played as a striker. I hope it pays off here.”
Meanwhile, more boxers will throw their weight into the ring on Monday as Kenya looks to revive hopes of carrying any boxers to Tokyo.
Team captain Nick ‘Commander’ Okoth will take on Egypt’s Mohamed Fahmi in the preliminaries of the men’s featherwight, Boniface Mugunde trades punches with Cameroon’s Mengue Ayisi while Humphrey Odongo plays Morocco’s Assaghir Mohamed in the light heavyweight category.
The women’s hopes will be on assistant captain Elizabeth Andiego who takes on Mozambique’s Rady Adosinda in the quarter finals of the women’s middleweight while Elizabeth Akinyi will step on the canvas against Ghana’s Osuman Faruza in the women’s welter.
-Additional info courtesy Olympic Channel